Race To The Finish
Experience: 1st year, 2nd quarter
Practice: Developing and Using Abstractions, Creating computational artifacts, Testing and refining computational artifacts, and Communicating about computing
Concept: Program Development, Algorithms, and Control
Overview and Purpose
Coders use a variety of blocks and sprites to create a racing game and a short story about a race. The purpose of these projects is to apply previously learned concepts in a new context to create their first game and a short story, as well as introduce the say block.
Objectives and Standards
- I will review how to trigger algorithms when sprites are tapped.
- How can we trigger algorithms when sprites are tapped?
1A-AP-10 Develop programs with sequences and simple loops, to express ideas or address a problem.
- Programming is used as a tool to create products that reflect a wide range of interests. Control structures specify the order in which instructions are executed within a program. Sequences are the order of instructions in a program. For example, if dialogue is not sequenced correctly when programming a simple animated story, the story will not make sense. If the commands to program a robot are not in the correct order, the robot will not complete the task desired. Loops allow for the repetition of a sequence of code multiple times. For example, in a program to show the life cycle of a butterfly, a loop could be combined with move commands to allow continual but controlled movement of the character. (source)
1A-AP-12 Develop plans that describe a program’s sequence of events, goals, and expected outcomes.
- Creating a plan for what a program will do clarifies the steps that will be needed to create a program and can be used to check if a program is correct. Students could create a planning document, such as a story map, a storyboard, or a sequential graphic organizer, to illustrate what their program will do. Students at this stage may complete the planning process with help from their teachers.(source)
1A-AP-08 Model daily processes by creating and following algorithms (sets of step-by-step instructions) to complete tasks.
- Composition is the combination of smaller tasks into more complex tasks. Students could create and follow algorithms for making simple foods, brushing their teeth, getting ready for school, participating in clean-up time. (source)
1A-AP-11 Decompose (break down) the steps needed to solve a problem into a precise sequence of instructions.
- Decomposition is the act of breaking down tasks into simpler tasks. Students could break down the steps needed to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, to brush their teeth, to draw a shape, to move a character across the screen, or to solve a level of a coding app. (source)
1A-AP-14 Debug (identify and fix) errors in an algorithm or program that includes sequences and simple loops.
- Algorithms or programs may not always work correctly. Students should be able to use various strategies, such as changing the sequence of the steps, following the algorithm in a step-by-step manner, or trial and error to fix problems in algorithms and programs. (source)
1A-AP-15 Using correct terminology, describe steps taken and choices made during the iterative process of program development.
- At this stage, students should be able to talk or write about the goals and expected outcomes of the programs they create and the choices that they made when creating programs. This could be done using coding journals, discussions with a teacher, class presentations, or blogs. (source)
Practices and Concepts
Practice 4: Developing and Using Abstractions
- "Abstractions are formed by identifying patterns and extracting common features from specific examples to create generalizations. Using generalized solutions and parts of solutions designed for broad reuse simplifies the development process by managing complexity." (p.78)
- P4.4. Model phenomena and processes and simulate systems to understand and evaluate potential outcomes. (p.79)
Practice 5: Creating computational artifacts
- "The process of developing computational artifacts embraces both creative expression and the exploration of ideas to create prototypes and solve computational problems. Students create artifacts that are personally relevant or beneficial to their community and beyond. Computational artifacts can be created by combining and modifying existing artifacts or by developing new artifacts. Examples of computational artifacts include programs, simulations, visualizations, digital animations, robotic systems, and apps." (p.80)
- P5.1. Plan the development of a computational artifact using an iterative process that includes reflection on and modification of the plan, taking into account key features, time and resource constraints, and user expectations. (p.80)
- P5.2. Create a computational artifact for practical intent, personal expression, or to address a societal issue. (p.80)
Practice 6: Testing and refining computational artifacts
- "Testing and refinement is the deliberate and iterative process of improving a computational artifact. This process includes debugging (identifying and fixing errors) and comparing actual outcomes to intended outcomes. Students also respond to the changing needs and expectations of end users and improve the performance, reliability, usability, and accessibility of artifacts." (p.81)
- P6.1. Systematically test computational artifacts by considering all scenarios and using test cases." (p.81)
- P6.2. Identify and fix errors using a systematic process. (p.81)
Practice 7: Communicating about computing
- "Communication involves personal expression and exchanging ideas with others. In computer science, students communicate with diverse audiences about the use and effects of computation and the appropriateness of computational choices. Students write clear comments, document their work, and communicate their ideas through multiple forms of media. Clear communication includes using precise language and carefully considering possible audiences." (p.82)
- P7.2. Describe, justify, and document computational processes and solutions using appropriate terminology consistent with the intended audience and purpose. (p.82)
- "Programs are developed through a design process that is often repeated until the programmer is satisfied with the solution. In early grades, students learn how and why people develop programs. As they progress, students learn about the tradeoffs in program design associated with complex decisions involving user constraints, efficiency, ethics, and testing." (p.91)
- Grade 2 - "People develop programs collaboratively and for a purpose, such as expressing ideas or addressing problems." (p.97)
- "Algorithms are designed to be carried out by both humans and computers. In early grades, students learn about age-appropriate algorithms from the real world. As they progress, students learn about the development, combination, and decomposition of algorithms, as well as the evaluation of competing algorithms." (p.91)
- Grade 2 - People follow and create processes as part of daily life. Many of these processes can be expressed as algorithms that computers can follow." (p.96)
- "Control structures specify the order in which instructions are executed within an algorithm or program. In early grades, students learn about sequential execution and simple control structures. As they progress, students expand their understanding to combinations of structures that support complex execution." (p.91)
- Grade 2 - "Computers follow precise sequences of instructions that automate tasks. Program execution can also be nonsequential by repeating patterns of instructions and using events to initiate instructions." (p.96)
- A step-by-step process to complete a task. (source)
- A formula or set of steps for solving a particular problem. To be an algorithm, a set of rules must be unambiguous and have a clear stopping point. (source)
- The process of finding and correcting errors (bugs) in programs. (source)
- To find and remove errors (bugs) from a software program. Bugs occur in programs when a line of code or an instruction conflicts with other elements of the code. (source)
- An action or occurrence detected by a program. Events can be user actions, such as clicking a mouse button or pressing a key, or system occurrences, such as running out of memory. Most modern applications, particularly those that run in Macintosh and Windows environments, are said to be event-driven,because they are designed to respond to events. (source)
- The computational concept of one thing causing another thing to happen. (source)
- Any identifiable occurrence that has significance for system hardware or software. User-generated events include keystrokes and mouse clicks; system-generated events include program loading and errors. (source)
- A specific piece of information used as input each time a process is run; for example, when a person presses a vending machine button for an item, the information for the item location is sent as a parameter so the machine knows what food to dispense. (Thank you, Peter Rich, for the great example)
- A special kind of variable used in a procedure to refer to one of the pieces of data received as input by the procedure. (source)
- In programming, the term parameter is synonymous with argument, a value that is passed to a routine. (source)
- A media object that performs actions on the stage in a Scratch project. (source)
- Like comic strips for a program, storyboards tell a story of what a coding project will do and can be used to plan a project before coding.
More vocabulary words from CSTA
- Potential subjects: Language arts, media arts, physical education
- Example(s): Either the game or the story could be modified to replicate or build off a fictional or true story about a race. For example, recreating the story about the tortoise and the hare. This project could also integrate with physical education classes if coders embodied the motions and speeds by physically mimicking a sprite’s algorithm. Note, this process may get a little silly in the best way possible. Click here to see other examples and share your own ideas on our subforum dedicated to integrating projects.
- Authors, marketers, and media artists are often asked to create a story to sell a product or create a narrative. Game developers find ways to make games more interactive and engaging for their users. Some careers require people to come up with digital or physical artifacts based off of ideas from other people. For example, a commissioned piece of music or artwork might require a musician/artist to create a work based off of a theme, concept, or idea. Click here to visit a website dedicated to exploring potential careers through coding.